Sunday, December 11, 2016

Obama’s “Fake News War” Against Trump & Putin

The CIA’s Absence of Conviction: I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it.

There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of (Podesta) emails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.

A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they “know the individuals” involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition.

We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of “We know who it was, it was the Russians” are beneath contempt.

As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two. And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.

The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of “Russia”, while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.

I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype:

One of damaging leaked-Podesta-emails.
The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was “directing” the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims “bullshit”, adding: “They are absolutely making it up. I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

“If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States. America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.”

But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming – incredibly – that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion.

Presumably this totally nutty theory, that Putin is somehow now controlling the FBI, is meant to answer my obvious objection that, if the CIA know who it is, why haven’t they arrested somebody. That bit of course would be the job of the FBI, who those desperate to annul the election now wish us to believe are the KGB.

It is terrible that the prime conduit for this paranoid nonsense is a once great newspaper, the Washington Post, which far from investigating executive power, now is a sounding board for totally evidence free anonymous source briefing of utter bullshit from the executive.

In the UK, one single article sums up the total abnegation of all journalistic standards. The truly execrable Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian writes “Few credible sources doubt that Russia was behind the hacking of internal Democratic party emails, whose release by Julian Assange was timed to cause maximum pain to Hillary Clinton and pleasure for Trump.”

Does he produce any evidence at all for this assertion? No, none whatsoever. What does a journalist mean by a “credible source”? Well, any journalist worth their salt in considering the credibility of a source will first consider access. Do they credibly have access to the information they claim to have?

Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.

Contrast this to the “credible sources” Freedland relies on. What access do they have to the whistleblower? Zero. They have not the faintest idea who the whistleblower is. Otherwise they would have arrested them. What reputation do they have for truthfulness? It’s the Clinton gang and the US government, for goodness sake.

In fact, the sources any serious journalist would view as “credible” give the opposite answer to the one Freedland wants. But in what passes for Freedland’s mind, “credible” is 100% synonymous with “establishment”. When he says “credible sources” he means “establishment sources”. That is the truth of the “fake news” meme. You are not to read anything unless it is officially approved by the elite and their disgusting, crawling whores of stenographers like Freedland.

The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia. This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries – including of course bigger budgets for the CIA. As thankfully the four year agony of Aleppo comes swiftly to a close today, the Saudi and US armed and trained ISIS forces counter by moving to retake Palmyra. This game kills people, on a massive scale, and goes on and on.

Barack Obama has ordered US intelligence to review evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election after coming under sustained pressure from congressional Democrats. President’s decision to have US intelligence agencies look over evidence comes after unrelenting pressure from Democratic lawmakers to declassify information.

The review will be one of Obama’s final instructions to the intelligence agencies, which will soon report to Donald Trump, whom congressional Democrats consider the beneficiary of a hack targeting the Democratic National Committee. Lisa Monaco, the White House counterterrorism director, announced what she called a “full review” at a breakfast briefing sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday.

At the White House press briefing later on Friday, Eric Schultz, the deputy White House press secretary, denied the review was “an effort to challenge the outcome of the election. We have acknowledged who won the election,” he said. “It wasn’t the candidate the president campaigned for. He has gone out of his way to ensure a smooth transition of power.”

The review will span the last three presidential election cycles, Schultz told reporters. “These agencies will have to take a look at what we saw in 2008, 2012 and 2016. This is going to be a deep dive. This is a review that will be broad and deep at the same time. They’re going to look at where the activity leads them to look at.”

There were intrusions into both the Obama and John McCain campaigns in 2008, publicly attributed to the Chinese, he continued, and although there were no notable incidents in 2012, “knowing what we know now”, that election will also be scrutinised.

In 2016, he said, the government did not detect any increased cyber activity on election day itself but the FBI made public specific acts in the summer and fall, tied to the highest levels of the Russian government. “This is going to put that activity in a greater context ... dating all the way back to 2008.”

One of anti-Obama fake news item.
Asked if the review would investigate Russia’s motives, Schultz replied: “Malicious cyber activity, specifically malicious cyber activity tied to our elections, has no place in the international community. Unfortunately this activity is not new to Moscow. We’ve seen them do this for years ... The president has made it clear to President Putin that this is unacceptable.”

Obama expected the review to be completed before he leaves office, Schultz said. “This is a huge priority ... I think the president wanted this done under his watch because he takes it very seriously. This is something the president has been watching closely for eight years now.”

Schultz also told the briefing: “We’re going to make public as much as we can. As you can imagine, something like this might include sensitive and even classified information. When that report is submitted we’re going to take a look. We want to brief Congress and the relevant stakeholders, possible state directors.”

“This is good news. Declassifying and releasing information about the Russian government and the US election, and doing so quickly, must be a priority,” said Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee.

In October, the director of national intelligence and the secretary of homeland security publicly accused the “senior-most” levels of the Russian government of directing those digital breaches. Trump, who has treated Russian president Vladimir Putin with a warmth unequalled by most US politicians, has repeatedly dismissed the accusation as politically motivated.

US intelligence laid the blame for the DNC hack at Russia’s feet but has not provided evidence supporting the accusation, although several private cybersecurity firms reaching the same conclusion have. Earlier this month, all the Democratic members of the Senate intelligence committee publicly intimated the administration knows significantly more about Russian culpability than the October statement revealed, and implored Obama for a public disclosure he has thus far resisted.

Yet the White House was more sympathetic to a request earlier this week from several senior Democrats in the House of Representatives, who wrote to Obama requesting a classified briefing on the role the Russians played in the election.

While Democrats, stung by a rout in an election many expected to win, have spearheaded the calls for disclosure of Russian interference, they also have some Republican support. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina hawk who savaged Trump on the campaign trail, told CNN this week he will use his Senate perch to pursue an investigation of Russian involvement in the DNC hack.

According to Monaco, the review will be classified and delivered to lawmakers before Obama leaves office on 20 January. Democrats immediately pounced on the announced review and pressed the White House to declassify it before Trump takes office.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Russia had “succeeded” in “sow[ing] discord” in the election, and urged as much public disclosure as is possible.

“More than that, the administration must begin to take steps to respond forcefully to this blatant cyber meddling, and work with our allies in Europe who have been targets of similar attacks to impose costs on the Kremlin; if we do not, we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future,” Schiff said Friday.

A spokesman for the director of national intelligence declined to comment.

Are fake news part and parcel of the bitter war between Right & Left?